Mara Solie, daughter of Rebecca Petersen and Mark Solie, sister of Sarah Solie, lived from July 25th, 1985 to June 14th, 2023. She was born in Minneapolis and moved with her family to Fergus Falls, Minnesota when she was six years old. Mara showed all the indications early on of Rett Syndrome and was diagnosed conclusively several years later when the genetic marker for the condition was discovered. She had neither speech nor mobility and required total care her entire life. Though some of her early symptoms were severe, her condition stabilized significantly later in life. She has lived comfortably in her group home for many years and even breezed right through a bout of Covid early on in the pandemic, a truly resilient young woman.
As Hubert Humphrey said: “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those were in the shadows of life, the sick; the needy and the handicapped.” This community has a long history of helping people with special needs and people such as Mara are loved and accepted as a part of normal life. From her public-school educators here in Fergus Falls to her social workers, home health aides, and numerous medical doctors, we cannot say enough about the care Mara has received throughout her life. Early on, we were helped by dozens of young Personal Care Assistants, many of whom have now gone on to become health care professionals. They continue to make lives better for people all over this state. Mara also had excellent care when needed at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul and lake Region Hospital in Fergus Falls. To Synstelien Group Homes and Ashley, Mara’s caregiver for 20 years, we owe a special debt of gratitude. If anyone so desires, donations in Mara’s name can be sent to the International Rett Syndrome (
) or the Virginia S. and Samuel P. Adams Tribute Fund (wcif.org/fund/vsa).
Mara’s ashes will be strewn very near the source of the Ottertail River; she will become part of the river that was part of her life for so many years. So, maybe, sometimes, when you cross that river, wave a fond farewell to a sweet and gentle soul.
Memorial Service: 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 24, 2023 at Roosevelt Park Shelter in Fergus Falls. Please bring your own chair and an umbrella in case of rain.
Assistance provided by Olson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.
Online condolences may be sent to